Category Archives: Uncategorized

~A Quick Short Story~

She took a deep breath, and told the boy, she’d never let go.

She ignored his warnings.  The promises of the demons lining the road ahead of him.  The mountains, valleys, and rivers that blocked the way.

She’d walk it all with him.

Her heart, her soul, would be trampled, bruised, and scraped.  A casualty of his pains, not the victim.  She couldn’t turn away.

The path would be cold, and lonely.  Covered in shadows, and bitter winds.  It would hurt, and she would be hurt, but she’d never let go of that boy.

And maybe he was right, maybe one day, together, they would reach the end of that path.  And they could both laugh, together, at the trials they had conquered, the fear they had tackled.

Then together, hand in hand, they would continue down the next one, towards the next mountain that needed to be moved.

And then the next one.  And the next one.

And she would never let go.

My Grandmother’s Child

I am my grandmother’s child.

Not in the bad confusing way, but as in almost every single grain of my being was shaped by her in some way.

I’m not so sure, looking back, if my need to emulate her rests in the “nurturing” I received by her, or if I was born with the “nature” to fall in line with her ways.  I’m pretty sure that I don’t care one way or another.

With two working parents, and little funds for daycare I spent every weekday in her home.  I can still look back and see Days of Our Lives blaring on her huge wooden tv counsel that was the size of a small boat.  I can still smell the ceramics on her clothes.  I can still remember the small lines that curled up into a smile on her face.

She was finicky.  The child of the great depression, the first generation of Americans in her German Immigrant family.  You didn’t waste one dang thing.  You used crayons until the nub disappeared into your fingerprint.  You minded your manners.  You put your church first.  And life was all about family and tradition, period.

Tradition, no matter what it was, you kept it.  Even the annual meet-ups, twice a week at McDonald’s.  Same time, same booth, same group of people.  You could change your order of course, if you had a coupon.  That, by the way, is where I learned to gamble from a very grumpy man named Sam.  Sam had his routine of getting his coffee and Egg McMuffin while looking at horse stats, and finishing his day at the tracks.  If I picked a winner, he bought me breakfast the next day, and I could get a soda.  (I was 5, this was huge)  And let me tell you, picking a winning horse is a tough business.  You, according to Sam, have to consider the stats, and pick the horse with the best odds, but not the actual best odds, because then you win less money.  I always picked a horse by its name, I won twice.

When it wasn’t McDonald’s it was early morning mass, or polishing pews, or ironing altar clothes.  Coffee bible studies, where if I was quiet and behaved I got to sip on the left over cold coffee and get pennies from the guest.

Or there were my favorite days, the days when my Great Grandmother “Nanny”, and my Great Aunt Ella came over to make ceramics with my Grandmother “Nan”.  There was on the back of her house, a small mud-room type room, where she ran her “business”.  The room had a picnic table in the middle, shelves upon shelves filled with wedding plates, statues, bowls and more, and an old kiln.

I wish I could remember the conversations between the two Immigrant Germans and my Nan, I know everyone tells me they all used to bicker non-stop, but all I can remember is the smell of the ceramic clay, the feel of the wet mud, and my Nanny making countless little babies to keep me busy.  I always tell myself that I will feel that squish of wet clay between my fingers again, just because that is what they did.

I can remember her backyard, and her not understanding why I refused to play out there.  I remember clearly the horrors of playing amongst the apple tree, the peach tree, the plum-tree, and the cherry tree in the heat of production.  BEES.  Swarms of them, everywhere.  I’d rather play in her garage that was lined with canned produce that she gleaned from those trees, the beautiful jars catching my eyes every time.

It was the way of life to her.  It wasn’t about this or that, it’s just the way things were.  You created, always, no matter the mess.  Around her chair you could find a sewing project, a crochet project, a sketch book, a cross stitch project, and a stack of ripped out magazine pages for the next recipe she would make or the next craft she would start.  Always create, always.

She tried to teach me.  All of it, every skill she knew, she tried to teach me.  The brave soul even allowed me to paint with real oil paints.  But I hated waiting for paints to dry, and I wanted to mix all the colors, and why couldn’t I start all over again with a brand new $15.00 canvas, and clean the paint brushes, no thanks.  We discovered quickly that I had a talent for black ink sketches 😉 .

We tried it all.  We weaved yarn through strawberry crates, and made bookmarks out of plastic canvas.  We did paper quilling, and baking.  Photography with the Polaroid, and cross stitching.  Doll clothes, and electric organ playing.  She even let me play dress up with her figure skating (rollerskate dancing) costumes and skate up and down her hallway in her old skates.  Once she tried to teach me crocheting and knitting, that lesson lasted about five minutes.  ❤

We were both stubborn in our ways.  She always tried to teach me, and I always found a different way to not do it right.

She could be hard with her words.  Condescending even.  But I don’t remember that.  I just remember those thin lines of her smile.

I remember how holidays had to be.  You had to start the Christmas Coffee Roll Dough two days before Christmas.  No argument, that’s how it was.  You had to have ham, and cheesy potatoes every Easter.  It was turkey at thanksgiving with a can of cranberry goop.  The same prayer at every meal.

And then, slowly, I grew up.  Or more so, I grew away.  I got busy with being a teenager.

I still visited her, she by then lived next door to us.  She’d call me at 10pm to fix her cable, or to work on her pre-lit Christmas tree that never worked right.  She’d scorn me for bringing home a new dog.  Or call for me to back her up in yelling at the kids across the street who had to play basketball in her yard.

And then came the day I will never forget.  We were talking about something, and the conversation ended quickly.  I remember the pot of water boiling, and her blank face.  I said her name over and over, before she responded with “When did you get here?”  Or something equally odd.  I waited until she finished with her boiling water, and ran home to tell my mom.

Strokes.  Many small strokes were taking my grandmother away from me.  The woman who defeated horrible childhood arthritis and competed in Roller Dancing.  The woman who travelled the world.  The one with so much talent, so wise, was disappearing.

The strokes turned into Alzheimer’s, and dementia.  And she soon was placed in a nursing home.  My world started crashing down.  She’d call me by my mom’s name at visits, and tell others she hadn’t seen me in weeks.  Her home was being sold, with all those treasures being dispersed, all my life, it felt, disregarded.

I struggled with that day when our conversation ended abruptly, and honestly, some days, I still do.  What if, just what if, I hadn’t told anyone?  What if it could have been our secret?  What if I had just given more of myself and stayed with her?  Cared for her on my own?  Gave up me for her?  She hated that nursing home, and I felt I was the one who locked her up.

I struggled more so, to visit her there.  To sit with the shell of the person she once was.  To watch her fade away.  I tried.  I went and watched our soap on tv with her.  I lectured her on being nice to the nurses, to fight to get better.  I brought her all the creations I made.  I prayed.  She’d kiss me on the cheek, and call me the wrong name, and I’d cry all the way home.

And then I got the call I never imagined I would get.  It was time to say goodbye.

I climbed into the bed of hers and squeezed her hand tight.  The hand that did so much for me.  I quietly begged her not to go.  I whispered reminders to her on how she was supposed to help make my wedding dress, how she was supposed to be there to see the children I had not yet had.  How I needed her.

And then I said goodbye.

She passed the next day.

I don’t remember if the church was full at her funeral.  I don’t remember who came or who didn’t.  I remember my heart was shaking, and I remember my mom and I holding onto each other like if we didn’t the world would really shatter.

I remember sorting through what was left of her belongings, clinging to what I could.

I remember moving on, but never moving past.

A collection of her photos that were set out for trash, now hanging above my desk.

A collection of her photos that were set out for trash, now hanging above my desk.

I am my grandmother’s child.

Nine years past her death, it’s more clear than ever.

One year past her passing I married and had her grandchild.  I bought one crochet hook, a ball of yarn, and a crochet book.  I made myself learn, for her.  And maybe a little bit for me.

I demand ham on Easter, and coffee dough made two days before Christmas.  Her prized hutch sits in my dining room, still the same shade of awful green paint that she loved, my treasures on top, papers and crayons on the bottom for my children, just like she had it.  Her paintings that my mind played in as I drifted off to sleep during naptimes at her house hang above my couch, beckoning the imaginations of my children.  My daughter is her namesake.

I love with all my heart, that woman who for all purposes raised me.

And I will forever laugh as my husband complains about me having too many projects going on at once.  Because life is all about creating.  Always.  And I am my grandmother’s child.

~Shameless~

That’s me, at least for today, shameless and such.  And I’m fine with it.

This is 100% a plug… for myself, in part of my scheme for world domination.  You see, I’ve already taken over Alaska, New York, Florida, California, Ohio and beyond… but I need to reach your town!

How am I taking over?

With knitting, crocheting, and soaps of course.

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So go now, show some love.  Visit my shop at http://www.whitegoatranch.etsy.com and marvel over my creations.  And be kind because I’m still figuring all of this out, and my camera died.  Humph.  While you’re there toss me some favorite love.  It helps.

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And no, that’s not it!  You’re not done yet!  Then I need you to dash on over to facebook and “like” me over at http://www.facebook.com/WhiteGoatRanch .  And join in on the conversation and such.  (That’s where you’ll find coupons and stuffs)

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Then because you love me soooooo much, follow my “tweets” here: https://twitter.com/whitegoatranch .  You know you want to!

Last, but not least, Miss Griffin that we all know and love, made me an awesome site/blog at http://www.whitegoatranch.com .  I know you’re sick of me by now, so go and show her some love, lol.

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Just showing up, and following on any site would be such huge heaps of help!  Purchases are not required or expected!!!!  Thanks!!!!  Remember, sharing is c

Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Dro, Oh My!

Missouri is all about extreme weather.  The old saying of “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute, because it will change”, is 100% true here.  It’s either flooding, drought, invasion of cicadas, blizzards, tornadoes, land hurricanes, extreme heat, ice storms, earthquakes… normal doesn’t register here.

Fly-by-night roofing and car repair shops actually set up real buildings here.  No joke. 

And sometimes just trying to keep up with mother nature out here can cost a fortune. 

Just in the past year we have lost twelve adult trees in our front yard, had our entire utility box pulled off of our house (okay so that might have been from a big truck pulling down the wires from the street and catching our yard on fire), hail damage, and now as of last night, shingles flying off our roof.

Which is why I found it funny when Military VA Loans asked if I could share some thoughts on home remodeling… um yeah.  Big time.  Matter of fact I’m hoping to be looking at shingle samples by next week.  (Like insurance companies can even work that fast, but still.)

I just hope that the insurance company and the roofer guys work faster at repairing our roof, than I do at remodeling the inside of our home.  Because, really, who takes a year and a half to finish a bedroom update?  And too, I don’t believe that the goat will be too fond of strangers trampling around her yard.

But at least, hopefully, we’ll be getting a new roof.  And one more project will be finished.  Now to find a way to get tha kitchen and bedroom done…

And thanks again Military VA Loans for offering up the topic!

How’s the weather been treating your home???

NaNoWriMo ~ Because I Know.

It’s almost that time of year.  Okay so, technically, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month which you can find at www.nanowrimo.org ) doesn’t start until November 1st at 12am (and yes the time IS important), but now is the time to prepare.

Because this is serious stuff.

First for those who think I’m talking jibberish, NaNoWriMo is a orginization dedicated to raising money for national reading programs all geared to our youth.  Once a year they sponsor/poke/prod a huge national writing contest, where in we lose our minds and try to write a 50,000 word novel in under thirty days. 

So what’s the prize?  A brand new spanking novel in desperate need of editing, a printable certificate and spiffy little icon thingys you can paste everywhere.  (I have four of them ;p)  Oh, and knowing that you’re helping our wee ones read things BEYOND text messages. 

 

Rules?  You must sign up for a NaNo account, sooner is always better than later, but you can’t post novel info until November 1st, and honestly, don’t try to log in on that day, the site will be going bonkers.  You must submit your entire manuscript (no one reads it, and they can encrypt it too, if you are worried) for a offical word count before December 1st.  Other than that you can write anything, have your characters stutter for pages, and insert as many flashbacks as your little heart wants to.  It’s all on an honor system.

There are bonuses as well.  There are lots of promotions, offers, groups to join, write-ins and more.

So what should you be doing now?  That’s up to you.  Obviously you should go sign up, maybe donate some money, browse the site for tips, groups and info.  I like to have an idea of what I’m going to be writing way ahead of time.  This is the time when (if I’m going to do it this year, I have yet to decide) I develop a sketchy plot map.  I never follow it, but it’s nice to give yourself a wee bit of a boost.  Also I try to get to know my characters ahead of time, so their voices are about killing me before that first day. 

If I join in this year I already know my towns, the main conflict, one side conflict and all of my characters… and yes I may have issues.  ;p 

The point isn’t to actually write a book, or to get it published (because then I’d have four published books), but just to get out there and to get writing.

Are you in?

Have any questions?  (because we know I’m very helpful)

Let’s See what’s Behind Door #2

All these changes, the drought, the healing, the this and that of life have shoved me down a different path.

It’s not a new path, I’ve been here before… but it’s been a long time, and the dust and cobwebs have taken over, making it hard for me to sort out what’s in front of me.

And with new paths come new ambitions.  (Actually I think that’s just me no matter what the path.)  Or maybe they’re not new ambitions, but more so that pieces are being rearranged, priorities being re-examined. 

Here’s what I’m looking at:

  • I’ve shut down my dog training site and am now working on a new business plan to submit sooner than later for grants on a new non-profit venture that I’ve wanted to do since I was five.  It’s still dog training if you’re looking for a hint.  (If you know the ins and outs of any of this grant and non-profit business or want to help out please email me!)
  • I’ve started working on a new blog (gasp!) that goes back to my original blogging style of more home and faith-based things.  I had to do it.  I need to get back to that place in my life.  And I needed to get away from wordpress and all their stupid rules of not posting affiliate links.  This economy begs that my time be spent increasing my family and home in one way or another.  WordPress I love ya, and this blog isn’t going anywhere, but you’ve hindered me for way too long.  For those interested I’ll be posting a link later when eveything is all set up and ready to go.
  • And you’ll notice that I’m not on any social networking sites.  This part won’t last, I promise I’ll be back once my goals around here have been met. It’s that priority thing.  Which sucks because friends ARE a priority, just not so much the huge blocks of time it takes me to connect to even chat with my friends.  I’ll work it out somehow.  (However I am stalking pinterest again to motivate myself to complete said goals around the house)  (and emails, have I mentioned how much I love emails?)

So what about the book?  It’s still in the plans, just moved back a few slots in importance.  There’s a few major details I didn’t quite care for and I suppose I’m waiting for my muse to work those kinks out and get back to me.  The nice thing about not being with an agent or publisher yet is that I get to take months off when ever I choose, and I’m fully going to enjoy that advantage while I can.

Lock-Jaw

I have exactly twenty minutes left of coffee drinking time, and the children and the animals are all already awake… this day is not starting out well.

The swelling on the side of my jaw started to feel as though someone was choking my throat… and so I finally called the Oral Surgeon.  I am far from a hypochondriac, in fact I’m the opposite, I believe everything is nothing, and given enough time it will go away… but this time I started to imagine my jaw bone flapping around every time I moved, or cancer eating half of my head off. 

The appointment revealed that my jaw wasn’t opening because of a flare of my TMJ or because of the swelling… but because I have lock-jaw.  Yes I am brilliant like that.  I never thought you could have any movement with lock-jaw, but apparently when you’re lucky enough to have your jaw lock closed, you can still close and open a wee bit.  Yes, I’ve been told it’s lucky to have a closed lock-jaw. 

Anywho, the swelling is caused by the stress on a molar, which then became infected, which is draining into the major gland right under the jaw bone, which is all big and choking me because of my locked jaw. 

So today they’re knocking me out, flooding my jaw on both sides with fluid, manually making it go back into position (or rather making the little plate thingy get unstuck from my jaw) and then pulling the evil tooth.  And then stealing every last dime I have.

At least it includes lots of pretty little pills.  But boo on them for not agreeing to lock me in a hospital bed for at least a week to recover… obviously they don’t have young minions and animals and a drought and piles of laundry to deal with.  Nope they’re sending me straight back home as soon as they wake me up, bastards. 

And I’ll be glad to be done with it all, and to feel better.  I’ll feel even better when I can chomp on a steak or fit an entire bite in my mouth without smooshing it up and sucking it up through a straw. 

But I still don’t wanna.  I really, REALLY don’t wanna.

I might go hide with the goat…

 

Here’s The Thing…

I have a problem…

I can’t write.

Shhhhhhhussshhh!  I don’t mean ever or at all… I mean right now.  I don’t have it. 

I mean I’ve been trying to accept a wonderful award passed on by two special people to me for DAYS, 4 of them to be exact… and I can’t do it.  I’ve deleted more copies of drafts than cups of coffee that I’ve consumed. (That’s a whole lot)  I just can’t do it.

Why you ask…  I dunno.  Maybe it’s the minions who refuse to stop trying to hold wrestling matches on my lap, maybe it’s my brain who can’t stop thinking of remodeling my kitchen (yes it IS THAT BAD), maybe it is because of a non-ending drought, maybe it’s because of the TMJ AGAIN, or maybe because I just don’t feel it… maybe.

Just please don’t tell me that I have moved on from this blogging/writing/journaling part of my life…

Something is just not meshing….

Paths and needs are crossing, dead ending, turning back and becoming unstable.

Is it an end… or a beginning?

And that’s where the post ended last Wednesday night.  I have not physically been able to make it back to my computer since then.  I’m on pain meds and muscle relaxers, and antibiotics (just in case)  and can’t move my head to save my life.  In reality I should probably be in the hospital, and I should probably be having surgery on my face… but in real reality, we can’t afford it.  And we’re praying this will subside until my husband can at least get more vacation time, so someone can take care of me during the whatevers they want to do to me.  That’s the pain of being a SAHM, you have very little in the way of backup when your body falls apart.

And the worst part, today is the bebe’s birthday… and even though she won’t remember that my face is swollen twice it’s size, and that there wasn’t a big party, or that mommy couldn’t make a homemade birthday cake… it still sucks. 

All of this sucks.

So anyway, that’s where I’ve been.  Hopefully everything will ease up soon and I’ll be able to catch up with everyone.  Hopefully.

When a Journalist Meets a Vampire You Get a FREE Book!

Soooo maybe it should say, “When a Detective meets a Dog Trainer You get a chance to win a FREE book.” 

Or it could say, “When an Urban fiction romance writer meets another urban fiction wanna be writer who usually doesn’t like romance novels, but loves it 100% anyway despite the romance *takes breath*, You can win a FREE book!”

Do you get the point yet?  Because I think I’m totally lost.

I do know that there’s going to be a giveaway at the bottom of this post, so you need to stick around! (Don’t make me beg, because I can get really annoying)

That’s what D’Elen McClain found out when she mentioned that not only does she write under two names, but she also writes Urban Fiction, with vampires and wolves, and the stuff half of my hard drives and thumb drives are made of.  Of course I was in heaven, with a writer who will talk to me, and hold my hand, and yell at me softly to get my arse in gear.  A writer who might be just as obsessed with dogs as I am, and also is in the whole Urban fiction world to boot!  My annoyance skills might have kicked into high gear.

And then I got my little, editing cramped hands on her first novel, Fang Chronicles, Amy’s Story… and I got scared.  I panicked.  As I did with reading my friend Cole Gibsen’s first novel, Katana.  I mean what if I hate the books?  What if it’s just as painful as reading 50 Shades of Grey?!  (not in the painful sexy way, but in the, “OhEmGee, what is the big friggen deal over this book because I see no reason to read one more page” way) 

So I dove in anyways, because reading books is the biggest risk this lady takes lately. 

 

Amy’s Story is the tale of a young, not so special reporter, who lives only for her work.  In desperation to finally nail that big story that would gain her the attention she has worked so hard for, she takes some big risk, disguising herself as the corner merchant in high heels if you know what I mean.  The problem is that the locals fall for it, and before she can save herself, she finds herself being saved by an extremely handsome, wealthy man… who isn’t exactly the tycoon portrayed on TV.  In the blink of an eye, Amy finds herself submerged in the world of Vampires and Werewolves, romance and war… and some very important life questions.

The beginning of the book soared by too quickly for my own personal tastes, you could tell that D’elen had an awesome plot she was about to rope you into and couldn’t wait to get you there.  But after she got me into that plot, I was stuck.  I could not put down my dang Kindle, ask my husband who threatened that if I drop the dang thing into the tub that he would not be replacing it.  For her first venture into Urban Fiction/Romance the writing was smooth, easy to read and easy to follow.  The characters were well-developed and left me very attached to all of them.  Maybe too attached.  😉  It’s a book I could see myself reading again even if I had the plot all wrong to the next in the series, Emily’s Story, which sadly is NOT about me… (as always, we can pretend).  And to boot, this anti-romance reader didn’t mind the romance aspect… which is always a plus.

You need this book.

Luckily for you I was able to con,  beg Miss D’Elen out of two electronic copies JUST FOR YOU!  Well, that’s a lie, you can’t just have them, because that’s no fun at all.  And because that would mean she’d have to fork over a hundred copies, and why the heck do you need two copies all to yourself!?!  Greedy, greedy people! 

You have to enter for your chance to win one of the two copies.  Just leave a comment and you’re in for one chance.  Come back tomorrow for D’Elen’s guest post, leave a comment and get a second entry.  Easy peasy.  Wanna suck up get extra chances?  Tweet about this post, share on Facebook, BlogHer and blog about it for extra entries!  Just leave a comment for each separate action pleaseeeeee.  Myspace or Cafemom about it and I’ll probably just make fun of you.  I’m potty training a toddler, it’s my right to be snarky!

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for a very special guest post from D’Elen herself (aka Suzie Ivy for my BlogHer peeps)!

And as always please go visit D’Elen McClain at her blogs: http://badluckdetective.wordpress.com/ and http://fangchronicles.wordpress.com/

*This contest will end on June 25, 2012, around 6 am central time, depending on when I have my first cup of coffee.  Winners will be chosen by some random number generator via google and will be announced that same day.  If I don’t hear from you within 48 hours or have no way to contact you I will choose another winner.  Books won will be in electronic format, and are incredibly easy to transfer to any device or read via your computer. 

**I have received this electronic book as a gift, and was not paid or asked to do this review… I just happen to like reviewing things in my own special ways.  In case you feds were wondering.  😉

Strap on Your Hard Hats

There’s going to be some dust flying around in these parts over the next few weeks.  Or at least some coffee and gentle cuss words.

I’m downloading, uploading, updating, linking, un-linking, refreshing and streamlining everything around me.  Because it’s time to get all serious in here.  (Or at least time to look all serious and such.)

So never mind the reappearing, disappearing links, or random new widgets… or the crying out for more coffee and vampire unicorns.  And do pay attention to the new ways to contact me (coming soon to the sidebar). 

And there’s probably going to be a slow down of posting as I focus on backing up everything… but don’t cry too much, take a minute and check out my archives, because I know you haven’t read all 145 of my post, and your life simply cannot be complete until you do!  ;p

~Emily